Migraines SUCK & How I Cope

Hey pals,

If you follow me elsewhere, you already know that I’ve been suffering with pretty intense migraines on and off for at least a month now. It started with chronic headaches that went away with seeing a chiropractor and starting amitriptyline (a very small dose) before bed to help me sleep and also tackle pain. Then not long ago I had my first aura migraine which was pretty scary. My vision was blocked by flashy white lights that are similar to looking into a bright light or the sun and the impression that leaves, and the left eye gradually got worse along with a lot of the usual headache pain… This sight disturbance really concerned me because my Gran had a torn retina a few years ago and our opticians have advised us that the flashing light kind of wigglies are the dangerous ones and can mean there’s something wrong with your retina! I had to calm my shit down and wait it out. I also called my GP practice and the secretary told me I should come to the doctors… but I couldn’t move or see so I pushed to have a doctor call me back.

So in the end, I had to change my contraceptive pill (because being on the combined pill when you have aura migraines means you are at risk of strokes) and I hoped that would be it and everything would be better, but no.

I kept getting headaches but the location of the pain changed. It used to be in my eye sockets and temples but it moved to more of a gripping pain at the sides of my head and really awful pulsing sensation if I moved. Sensitivity to light remained the same so I often sat inside with all the curtains closed and sometimes even sunglasses on.

I tried my co-codamol (paracetamol and codeine combined medication), i tried ice packs, I tried wetting parts of my head or hair with cold water, i tried the soothing head balms that used to work before… nothing made any difference coz as soon as I moved, it would start pounding again. it was stopping me from doing pretty much anything. (I’m actually writing this right now with a migraine coming on because I just can’t take it anymore!) And because I have an IBD I can’t take anti-inflammatory meds for migraines or headaches because it messes up my Crohn’s, and those used to be the only meds that worked!

I went to my GP and he basically confirmed it as migraines. Something he told me was really important that I hadn’t seen anywhere on the internet, “it’s less about where the pain is, and more about how painful it is,” I’d told him migraines were at like an 8 for me and as someone living with chronic pain, me saying something hurts like and 8 is a big fucking deal. He gave me a new med (which I still haven’t tried yet as I like to try and use simple methods first whilst they work) and also suggested I take a double dose of amitriptyline sometimes if I feel like I need to. During my extensive research of ‘HOW STOP MIGRAINE PLZ’ I saw that actually if you take too many painkillers, this could be part the problem and hun I’m on quite a few, so I switched my co-codamol to just paracetamol for when I’m having a migraine, and annoyingly it has been working. Sometimes, simple is best. I also read that you should try drinking caffeine? This one surprised me because it’s often advised against, or I would assume you should drink some if you are in withdrawal and that’s the source of your headache… I love my caffeine, but I don’t drink thank much of it, so I knew I wasn’t in withdrawal, but I gave it a try and it has helped in some cases. I read, “Before a headache or migraine, blood vessels tend to enlarge, but caffeine has “vasoconstrictive” properties that cause the blood vessels to narrow and restrict blood flow, which can aid in head pain relief.” which I found really interesting. So, now if my migraines are hanging around, sometimes I’ll make myself a cup of coffee (sometimes iced since it’s so hot atm) and just relax for a moment.

Migraines suck and make me intolerant and intolerable, and I’m sure many people are the same (I had a conversation about having migraines with a close friend of mine recently who I know has had migraines for the better part of 10 years!! Yikes) and I never fully understood how sucky they are and how debilitating it is to have migraines! I know most people end up in a darkened room with a cool compress or wet flannel and probably go for a nap… but it’s something I’ve hardly heard being talked about coz people go ‘oh just take this and get on with it’, but most things don’t work for everyone. I was just feeling like a cry baby today and wanted to share this part of my struggle coz my life right now is ALL struggle but this is something easier to talk about than the rest. Hopefully what I say is helpful.

I’m gonna go have a cup of coffee and maybe close my eyes.

~Artie

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